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Search Engine Strategies – San Jose – Day 1

I have survived Day 1 of the Search Engine Strategies 2007 conference … albeit on information overload. It isn’t really that there was so much information that it was overwhelming. Taken in small pieces everything is perfectly digestible. It’s when I over fill myself that I waddle away overloaded. All that aside, I have to say that my first day was pretty good. I attended 4 sessions and learned something new from each of them.

Stoney introduced Rob and me to some pretty fun people. Rob asked me how it felt to be going to dinner with 12 guys, and I said: “Popular.” I also felt quite popular with all the rubber necking our Pole Position Marketing team shirts caused. We were quite the collective object of many a heads turning and fingers pointing. You could read people’s lips Check out the cool shirts. I bet next year there will be impersonators.

The first session of the morning was “Introduction to Search Marketing.” Having learned on the fly most of what I knew about SEM, I felt it would be good to sit in on a session where the majority of attendees would be the newbies. There wasn’t a whole lot introduced that I hadn’t already been exposed to. This session was not specific to paid advertising, but what I did appreciate was that I was able to take somethings that were mentioned and was able to apply them in my head to how I want to utilize that idea in one of my client accounts. The message that everyone should have come away from after this session, is that search marketing is all about three things. TEXT, TEXT, and TEXT.

The second session was titled “Ads in a Quality Score World” where we were introduced to many different aspects of the elements that figure into the Quality score, both for keywords and AdGroups. We got to hear from Clay Bavor, the product manager at Google, David Pann, Vice President of Marketing Design and Matching, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Brian Boland, Group Marketing Manger from Microsoft adCenter.

The third session I thought I was going to fall asleep during, but that was only because it was just after lunch, and lunch was good! The session was “Search Advertising 101.” This session really made me feel better about what I already know. Which isn’t to say there wasn’t something valuable to take away from the hour and a half. I didn’t take many notes during this session, but I enjoyed the Q&A that took the last thirty minutes. What I was glad to hear is something I’ve tried telling our PPC clients. Using Google to find your ad (using your keywords) just to check and see where your ad ranks, actually hurts your ranking. It was explained that Google can tell when the same URL searches for the same term, and doesn’t CLICK THROUGH any of the ads. When they notice the same URl search time and time again, it will start serving them a different set of ads, the thinking being this: If they’re repeatedly looking for widget A and don’t find anything to click on, we must be serving the wrong ads. Instead, use the Ad Preview Tool.

The fourth and final session of the day I was tired. I didn’t even realize how brain dead I’d gone with information overload until I sat down here to write out all about the sessions. Having lost complete track of which sessions I attended, I pulled out my schedule and checked. Only then did I realize I sat in on the wrong session. (shhhh, don’t tell Stoney) I was supposed to have gone to the “Contextual Ads & AdSense Clinic,” where instead I went to “Advanced Paid Search Techniques.” For having gone to the wrong session, I think it was an excellent choice. I think this session was the one that I got the most new information from. Matt VanWagner of FindMeFaster discussed Dynamic Keyword Insertion. I’ve done quite a bit of this but still enjoyed hearing about it.

By the time you’re all reading this little update, I’ll be sitting with eager ears through another day. Day 2, assuming I don’t forget what sessions I’m supposed to attend, I expect to learn about “Ad Testing: Research & Findings,” “Converting Visitors into Buyers,” “Creating Compelling Ads,” and finally “Landing Page Testing & Tuning.” The evening will be capped off with the GOOGLE DANCE 2007. We’ll be wearing our shirts. I’ve promised Rob that he doesn’t really have to dance.

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

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